April 19, 2013
A LANGUAGE REQUEST FROM READER DAN MENES:
I am a long-time reader, and I was hoping that you could help me with a project. I am trying to revive a word: “aristagogue.” At first I thought I might have invented the word, but it appears occasionally in Google (sometimes in the alternative spelling “aristogogue”).
I use the word to describe those who gain power or prestige by playing upon the vanity, prejudices and insecurities of those who see themselves as our best and brightest, or who wish to be so seen by others. Used in a sentence: “The demagogue who holds forth from the pulpit of the Westboro Baptist Church would be an irrelevant nobody were his antics not found to be useful propaganda by the aristagogues who hold forth from the pages of the New York Times.”